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Scarlet Sunrise: Ohio State’s Buckeye Bash turns Columbus into Boomtown

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Jayden Ballard is Ohio State's third commitment for the Class of 2021. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Scarlet Sunrise

Scarlet Sunrise: Ohio State’s Buckeye Bash turns Columbus into Boomtown

Good morning, Ohio State fans, and welcome to the Scarlet Sunrise! Football will always be our focus, but every day we’ll cover news, notes and analysis from across Buckeyes sports. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Ohio State football, recruiting, basketball and more.


Two commitments on Friday

A huge Ohio State recruiting weekend opened with a bang as the Buckeyes landed commitments from Class of 2020 4-star cornerback Clark Phillips and Class of 2021 wide receiver Jayden Ballard. The Buckeyes are hosting a slew of prospects in the 2020 and 2021 classes as a part of its Buckeye Bash. The event is presumably replacing the Friday Night Lights camp that was the signature recruiting event during the Urban Meyer era.

Ohio State lands Clark Phillips

Ohio State landed one of its top overall targets in the Class of 2020: cornerback Clark Phillips. The La Habra, Calif., cornerback got the weekend festivities started with his announcement.

The country’s fourth-ranked cornerback, Phillips chose the Buckeyes over Notre Dame, California, Oregon and UCLA.

“The main reason why I chose Ohio State is my relationship with the entire staff, but primarily [co-defensive coordinator Jeff] Hafley and Ryan Day,” Phillips told Lettermen Row. “I see room for me to play early such and coach Hafley has been explaining to me the opportunity [at Ohio State] for me as a player.”

The Clark Phillips impact

Lettermen Row recruiting czar Birm has the breakdown on what Clark Phillips’ commitment means for Ohio State:

If there was any concern about the defensive recruiting for the Buckeyes, the addition of Clark Phillips should help ease some of those concerns. This is an elite prospect at one of the game’s most important positions and a major win for Ryan Day — showcasing his ability to recruit from coast-to-coast. It’s also significant for new co-defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley, who has quickly shown himself as one of the country’s elite recruiters despite being away from the college game for seven-plus years.

The timing of Phillips announcement is perhaps the most intriguing thing here for Ohio State. Choosing to make this announcement while he’s on campus making his official visit reveals a unique understanding of the recruiting game and how he can personally help kickstart what could be a huge two-week run for the Buckeyes by being a leader through actions and words.

As far as his position goes, Phillips is the fourth-rated cornerback in the country and the second cornerback prospect to commit to Ohio State, joining IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) 4-star Lejond Cavazos. This pair will now work together to add more defensive backs to the mix, especially with top targets like Makari Paige and Lathan Ransom on campus for their official visits at the same time as Phillips.

Jayden Ballard commits

The Buckeyes also landed a commitment from one of Ohio’s best athletes when Class of 2021 wide receiver Jayden Ballard committed to Ohio State on Friday.

Ohio’s fifth-ranked 2021 prospect and the nation’s 22nd-ranked receiver, Ballard is a 6-foot-2, 170-pound two-sport star at Massillon (Ohio) Washington. The latest Buckeyes commitment had seven early offers from schools around the country, including Notre Dame, Penn State, Michigan State, Washington State and Maryland — many others may have decided against offering because of the presumption that Ballard, who Ohio State offered in his freshman year with the Tigers, would end up with committing to the Buckeyes.

Ballard is Ohio State’s third commitment in the Class of 2021 and the first receiver committed in that class.

Counting down

  • Big Ten Media Days: 27 days
  • Ohio State vs. Florida Atlantic (season opener): 71 days
  • Ohio State at Michigan: 162 days

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Ryan Ginn

Ryan Ginn has covered Ohio State football and recruiting since 2013, having done so previously for Buckeye Sports Bulletin and Landof10.com. He is currently a student at Tulane Law School and resides in New Orleans, La.